Category: Staff profiles (Page 2 of 2)

Introducing Martin, the lab guy

Last week we learned a bit about Tom Yearley, our new Energy Manager. Tom is just one of a group of new staff to the Sustainability team. Energy is a broad and important strand of sustainability work at any institution. Also important to King’s is its laboratories, which on average consume 3-5 times more energy per square meter than other academic spaces. This is a big reason why Martin Farley has joined the team as the Sustainable Laboratories Project Coordinator. This week we will be looking into what Martin’s role entails, and why those of us working in labs ought to be thinking seriously about sustainability.

blog pic martin

Martin, bringing some serious sustainability into the laboratory.

‘I work with research labs to improve sustainability in short. Research labs consume a lot of energy, way more than most areas, and yet are often overlooked. There are a variety of areas we try and focus on like cold storage, ventilation, management practices, and about anything that produces heat. I try and bridge the gap between the researchers and facilities to find win-wins for everyone.’ In particular, Martin says he’d ‘love to further improve cold storage management here at Kings, though people like Allison Hunter have already been trailblazing in this area. For now I’ve been following in her footsteps. Cold storage is a unique challenge from the purchasing of freezers, to their maintenance and management, and finally their disposal, there is always something else to do. Kings isn’t unique in this respect I should add.

I worked just under two years at the University of Edinburgh doing a similar job, and before that worked in a few research labs and got a MSc in biology. Chatting around with lab people and learning how things and people work was pretty useful.’

Generally speaking, Martin urges everyone to be the change they want to see: ‘I really love working in and the idea of sustainability. Figuring out how as a species we’re going to survive on this planet without making it too painful for ourselves seems to be the big quest of our time, and it’s fun to be involved in a small way.’ Also, he suggests enjoying your local organic apples!

While he was at Edinburgh, Martin initiated an ongoing study into cold storage units, which seeks to discover the impact of various extreme cold temperatures on sample viability. Martin will write more in the future about laboratories to help those unacquainted to understand better what labs can and need to do in order to become more sustainable.

On another note, the Sustainability team is excited to welcome another new member, Ann Maclachlin, who steps into the role of Operations Sustainability Manager. We’ll share more about what she’s up to in coming weeks.

Unfortunately, due to last-minute scheduling conflicts, we have decided to re-schedule our second Sustainability Forum for January. The topic – green spaces and well-being – is one that we feel is very important, especially in a large city like London, and so we are very much looking forward to hosting the event in the new year. Keep checking back here for details, and we apologise for the late notice – we hope it doesn’t cause any inconvenience!

Until next time, keep it sustainable!

Upcoming events

Some news and stories

Let’s meet Tom, Energy Manager

So what does the Sustainability team actually do? You know we put together events like Blackout and the Sustainability Forum, and maintain this blog. But as important as these things are, they form only one part of what we’re up to. Our goal is to embed sustainability within King’s at all levels from operations and administration down to the actions of staff and students. One major focus of this work is energy, and this week we’ll meet Tom Yearley, our new Energy Manger, to gain some insight into what his role entails and what it means for everyone at King’s. So, Tom, what does the Energy Manager do?

Tom Yearley

The man himself, likely pondering how best to increase energy efficiency at King’s. Or surfing. He also likes surfing.

‘As Energy Manager at KCL and a professional environmentalist, my work involves minimising the environmental impact of the use of utilities at the University. This includes gas, water, electricity and oil. More widely the role involves influencing and reporting on the University’s carbon footprint, including broad factors such as travel, waste and procurement. Fortunately, sound environmental practice leads to financial savings and compliance with legislation which are also key deliverables for me. On a daily basis, I may have my head buried in a spreadsheet, be out and about engaging people in carbon reduction projects or completing energy surveys of buildings.

My primary challenge now is to accurately measure how and where we use utilities. This will enable us to demonstrate to staff and students exactly how great an impact they can have on not only the University’s environmental impact but also on its finances at an individual level.

I have enjoyed a varied career in the environmental sector over the past ten years. I have worked for private and publicly funded organisations including a chocolate factory, consultancies and upstream oil and gas. For the past five years I have been working in the higher education sector. Before KCL I was employed at the University of Reading. I passionately believe that the greatest contribution to a reduction in societies’ environmental impact can be made by responsible use of resources. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, including technological innovation and especially by changing the relationship individuals have with natural resources. Working at a university, I not only aim to influence our consumption directly now, but also hope to influence future leaders, providing a social norm for how business can be run with a minimal carbon impact.’

So, basically, Tom is an energy expert in a position to affect tremendous change. His top sustainability tip for everyone is to ensure that hot water temperature and timers are correctly set up at home. ‘Not only can this dramatically affect your carbon footprint,’ he explains, ‘it can also save you hundreds of pounds per year. It’s amazing how little changes that do not affect comfort levels can significantly alter energy consumption.’ And Tom knows his home energy; this year, he won an Observer Ethical Award for improving his own home’s energy efficiency. He also urges everyone to turn off unnecessary equipment that’s not in use at work (yes, he had a ridiculously fun time at Blackout).

If you’re interested in hearing more about Tom’s work and energy and sustainability at King’s, he happens to be participating in EcoSoc’s panel discussion tomorrow evening (see below for details). We hope to see you there!

Upcoming events

Some news and stories

  • International Maritime Organisation adopts Arctic protection measures: Are they enough?
  • New Fairphone offers sustainable, ethical option to mobile users (so probably everybody?)
  • The importance of communicating climate science consensus (because some people still don’t get it)

Justin joins the Sustainability team

Hello there!

I’m Justin and I have recently joined the Sustainability team as a new Sustainability Projects Assistant. I couldn’t be more excited about joining the team and the great work being done.
Justin Fisher

I have recently completed a Master’s course in the history of science, technology and medicine here at King’s. One of the first modules I took as part of the course was environmental history, and over the past year I have become increasingly fascinated with the role of the humanities in addressing environmental concerns as well as interested in sustainability more broadly, which has led me to this position. I believe that universities have a special responsibility to be leaders in this area, and this is an exciting time for King’s in this domain. I am particularly interested in the role of individuals and in the creation of cultures of sustainability.

One thing I will be working on is turning this blog into a platform for sustainable engagement. It is a valuable medium for the team to keep the university updated on its events, but we also want it to be a medium for staff and students to contribute to the discussion and share their ideas and passions. Would you like to contribute? If so, please do get in touch. Keep your eyes on this space for more regular posts about all things sustainable.

Outside of this role, I am an avid reader and enthusiast of ultimate frisbee and ice hockey, among other things. I’m a Canadian who is very much enjoying exploring the UK and learning about our subtle cultural differences, often by unwittingly embarrassing myself.

If you’ve got questions about what we’re working on or how you can be involved, please do be in touch!

And Olivia joins the sustainability team

olivia photoHello, I’m Olivia and have recently joined the King’s sustainability team as Sustainability Projects Assistant. After volunteering at Sussex students’ union, whilst studying for my undergraduate degree, as Ethical and Environmental Officer I have always been keen to move into a role working in sustainability within a large organisation such as a university.

Since my undergraduate degree I have worked in various voluntary sector organisations including Stepney City Farm, Forum for the Future and, FareShare, all of which have sustainability at their heart. They have all been wonderful organisations to give me a base understanding in what it takes to practically address sustainability issues in today’s world.

Last September I began a MA in Environment, Politics and Globalisation and King’s so I could gain a deeper understanding of contemporary sustainability issues. So when the job on the Sustainability team was advertised I thought what a perfect opportunity to practically apply what I had learnt during my MA and in previous roles.  I am extremely excited to be working at King’s, an organisation that I really care about and want to help become a more sustainable place for students and staff alike. I know it is going to be a challenging role, as King’s is such a diverse and large environment, but nevertheless rewarding!

On a more personal note I am passionate about organic horticulture and food production and would love to have an allotment in London, if only the waiting lists were shorter! I am particularly interested in modern day food systems and the associated sustainability issues. I am also a keen knitter, mad about cycling, book worm and, love disco and funk.

Please do be in touch if you have any sustainability ideas about what you would like to see happen at King’s, no matter how big or small; we are all ears!

Sarah joins the Sustainability Team!

Hi, my name is Sarah and I am the new intern joining King’s sustainability team, working as a sustainability projects assistant. I am very excited about joining the team and starting my role, and thought this would be a nice way to introduce myself to everyone. sarah

I am just about to finish my MSc in Environmental modelling, monitoring and management at King’s which as the title suggests has given me a good background in Environmental studies. I completed my undergraduate at Exeter University in geography as well.  In my spare time I set up a small cupcake business, attending the local food market in Dorset (http://www.belmontbakery.moonfruit.com) and I hope to continue this whilst here in London!

I have always been keen on working in a role which can help to make a difference for the environment, so when this internship arose I was delighted! With my background in geography I normally associated sustainability with the environment, i.e. waste and energy. Sustainability, and this role at King’s, covers a much broader spectrum than this, including ethics, culture and food and I am very eager to learn more about these areas.

Being a scientist, I like to monitor and measure things, so I decided to use a carbon footprint calculator at the beginning and end of my internship to see if I can improve my personal sustainability over the year. I used the WWF calculator (http://footprint.wwf.org.uk/) which showed my footprint as 20.9 carbon tonnes, (this means we’d need 3.31 planets to survive if everyone lived like me!). Hopefully over this year I can lower this value, by learning through the internship, and hopefully encourage others across the King’s campuses to do the same.

I am very excited about the next 12 months, working with multiple projects with staff and students across the campuses, as well as providing connections between King’s and external organisations. I am looking forward to engaging with people’s ideas surrounding sustainability and promoting projects that can create change.

I hope to hear from you all soon,

Sarah

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